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19 Suspected MS-13 Gang Members And Associates Arrested In Meth-Dealing Crackdown

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(Photo by arfo via Shutterstock)
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The FBI arrested 19 alleged Mara Salvatrucha-13 (MS-13) gang members and associates on Tuesday as part of a two-year-long investigation on drug trafficking and extortion schemes. Most of the arrests took place in L.A.

Among the indicted and arrested included one of the alleged MS-13 head honchos, Thomas "Big Boy" Rodriguez, 35, who has federal charges on meth distribution, according to the Los Angeles Times. Rodriguez reportedly was a top performer in collecting protection money from prison inmates and also was a major link in the drug money funneled from MS-13 to the Mexican Mafia.

Fourteen of the suspects were charged with meth distribution in L.A. and six for state extortion violations, according to KPCC. However, the FBI is still searching for Elvis "Lil Comando" Molino, 33, who is considered a fugitive right now; he is the last of the 20 suspects who were indicted.

CBS Los Angeles reported:

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“During the course of the investigation, we bought narcotics, we bought weapons, we conducted undercover operations to target this gang,” the FBI’s Timothy Delaney said.

MS-13's first members were Salvadorean refugees living in L.A. in the 1980s, but has since grown across the U.S. and Central America. They are notorious for their brutality and violence.

Here's the full list of the members arrested (with some interesting nicknames including one named "Inocente"):

Those charged in the federal indictments:
Thomas Rodriguez, aka “Big Boy,” 35, Los Angeles, Arrested
Jose Rodriguez, aka “Dreamer,” 34, Los Angeles, Arrested
Jorge Orellana, aka “Spike,” 34, Los Angeles, Arrested
Anival Orellana, aka “Pantera,” 35, Los Angeles, Arrested
Juan Garcia, aka “Duende,” 32, Los Angeles, Arrested
Rogelio Lemus, aka “Sky,” 42, Los Angeles, Arrested
Elvis Molina, aka “Lil Comando,” 33, Lynwood, Fugitive
Jose Avelar, aka “Chema,” 38, Los Angeles, Arrested
Lazaro Nunez, aka “Fino,” 28, Los Angeles, Arrested
Fabel Roque, aka “Spooky,” 25, Kansas City, Arrested
Sandra Hernandez Chinchila, 40, Valencia, Arrested
Mario Morales, aka “Plucky,” already in custody on unrelated charges
Luis Vega, aka “Lil One,” 29, already in custody on unrelated charges
Edwin Castillo, aka “Directo,” 31, already in custody on unrelated charges

State defendants:
Santos Ventura, aka “Payaso,” 30, Los Angeles
Jonathan Chavez, aka “Lento,” 25, Los Angeles
Thomas Linares, aka “Lil Lonely,” 30, Los Angeles
Oscar Chavez, 28, Los Angeles
Ivan Castro, aka Inocente,” 21, already in custody